Jane Fitzgerald of Kensington won five straight holes early, finished at 2 under par and defeated Shannon Hanley of Potomac, 4 and 2, to successfully defend her Maryland State Golf Association women's championship yesterday at Argyle Country Club.

Fitzgerald ended the match in grand style on the tough, dogleg par-4 16th hole, hitting a 175-yard 4-iron approach shot that almost went into the hole for an eagle. She tapped in the resulting one-foot putt for birdie and victory.

"I feel great. It's very satisfying," said Fitzgerald, 28, a merchandise buyer at the Chevy Chase Club pro shop. Her caddie and husband, Jim Fitzgerald, is head professional at the club. "My husband, my mom and dad and my daugther {2 1/2-year-old Kelly}, they all chipped in so I could practice."

Fitzgerald, who Thursday eagled the 15th hole in eliminating Karen Jones in the quarterfinals, got out of the blocks early against Hanley, the qualifying medalist who plays out of Congressional Country Club. Fitzgerald went birdie-par-par-birdie-par to win Holes 3 through 7 and take a five-hole advantage.

Hanley, 22, captain of the James Madison University women's team, then sank a 30-foot putt for birdie at the ninth hole to pull to 4 down, moved within three holes by making par at the 11th hole and knocked in a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-5 12th to pull within 2 down.

Fitzgerald then hit a beautiful 3-iron tee shot to within eight feet of the hole at the par-3 13th and made par to regain a 3-up lead and closed out Hanley with her near eagle two holes later.

Hanley did not appear discouraged by the loss. "I missed a few putts on the front nine," she said. "Jane played extremely consistent. She's a great player."

"Shannon is a very impressive golfer. She will continue to improve," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald, who plays out of Beaver Creek Country Club in Hagerstown, Md., also won the Staunton (Va.) Ladies Invitational and the Salisbury (Md.) Pepsi Invitational this season.

Signet Open: Jack Snyder, a 33-year-old pro from Palmyra, Va., shot a 2-under-par 70 for a 139 total and a one-shot lead at the halfway point of the tournament in Richmond.

The round completed a 20-hole day for Snyder, who was one of 33 players caught on the course Thursday by darkness after two thunderstorm delays.

Tom McKnight of Galax shot a 3-under 69 and took over sole possession of second.

Tied for third at 141 were first-day leader Vinny Giles of Richmond and J.P. Leigh of Chesapeake.

Charlottesville pro Mike West was next at 142.